Microsoft SQL Server # Interview Questions - (last updated on

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Transact-SQL Optimization Tips Index Optimization tips T-SQL Queries Data Types Index Joins Lock Stored Procedure Trigger View Transaction Other XML Tools Permission Administration

Transact-SQL Optimization Tips







Use views and stored procedures instead of heavy-duty queries. This can reduce network traffic, because your client will send to server only stored procedure or view name (perhaps with some parameters) instead of large heavy-duty queries text. This can be used to facilitate permission management also, because you can restrict user access to table columns they should not see. Try to use constraints instead of triggers, whenever possible. Constraints are much more efficient than triggers and can boost performance. So, you should use constraints instead of triggers, whenever possible. Use table variables instead of temporary tables. Table variables require less locking and logging resources than temporary tables, so table variables should be u sed whenever possible. The table variables are available in SQL Server 2000 only. Try to use UNION ALL statement instead of UNION, whenever possible. The UNION ALL statement is much faster than UNION, because UNION ALL statement does not look for duplicate rows, and UNION statement does look for duplicate rows, whether or not they exist. Try to avoid using the DISTINCT clause, whenever possible. Because using the DISTINCT clause will result in some performance degradation, you should use this clause only wh en it is necessary. Try to avoid using SQL Server cursors, whenever possible. SQL Server cursors can result in some performance degradation in comparison with select statements. Try to use correlated sub -query or derived tables, if you need to perform row-by-row operations. Try to avoid the HAVING clause, whenever possible. The HAVING clause is used to restrict the result set returned by the

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GROUP BY clause. When you use GROUP BY with the HAVING clause, the GROUP BY clause divides the rows into sets of grouped rows and aggregates their values, and then the HAVING clause eliminates undesired aggregated groups. In many cases, you can write your select statement so, that it will contain only WHERE and GROUP BY clauses without HAVING clause. This can improve the performance of your query. If you need to return the total table's row count, you can use alternative way instead of SELECT COUNT(*) statement. Because SELECT COUNT(*) statement make a full table scan to return the total table's row count, it can take very many time for the large table. There is another way to determine the total row count in a table. You can use sysindexes system table, in this case. There is ROWS column in the sysindexes table. This column contains the total row count for each table in your database. So, you can use the following select statement instead of SELECT COUNT(*): SELECT rows FROM sysindexes WHERE id = OBJECT_ID('table_name') AND indid < 2 So, you can improve the speed of such queries in several times. Include SET NOCOUNT ON statement into your stored procedures to stop the message indicating the number of rows affected by a T-SQL statement. This can reduce network traffic, because your client will not receive the message indicating the number of rows affected by a T -SQL statement. Try to restrict the queries result set by using the WHERE clause. This can results in good performance benefits, because SQL Server will return to client only particular rows, not all rows from the table(s). This can reduce network traffic and boost the overall performance of the query. Use the select statements with TOP keyword or the SET ROWCOUNT statement, if you need to return only the first n rows. This can improve performance of your queries, because the smaller result set will be returned. This can also reduce the traffic between the server and the clients. Try to restrict the queries result set by returning only the particular columns from the table, not all table's columns. This can results in good performance benefits, because SQL Server wil l return to client only particular columns, not all table's columns. This can reduce network traffic and boost the overall performance of the query.

1.Indexes 2.avoid more number of triggers on the table 3.unnecessary complicated joins 4.correct use of Group by clause with the select list worst cases Denormalization Index Optimization tips

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Every index increases the time in takes to perform INSERTS, UPDATES and DELETES, so the number of indexes should not be very much. Try to use maximum 4-5 indexes on one table, not more. If you have read-only table, then the number of indexes may be increased. Keep your indexes as narrow as possible. This reduces the size of the index and reduces the number of reads required to read the index. Try to create indexes on columns that have integer values rather than character values. If you create a composite (multi-column) index, the order of the columns in the key are very important. Try to order the columns in the key as to enhance selectivity, with the most selective columns to the leftmost of the key. If you want to join several tables, try to create surrogate integer keys for this purpose and create indexes on their columns. Create surrogate integer primary key (identity for example) if your table will not have many insert operations. Clustered indexes are more preferable than nonclustered, if you need to select by a range of values or you need to sort results set with GROUP BY or ORDER BY. If your application will be performing the same query over and over on the same table, consider creating a covering index on the table. You can use the SQL Server Profiler Create Trace Wizard with "Identify Scans of Large Tables" trace to determine which tables in your database may need indexes. This trace will show which tables are being scanned by queries instead of using an index. You can use sp_MSforeachtable undocumented stored procedure to rebuild all indexes in your database. Try to schedule it to execute during CPU idle time and slow production periods. sp_MSforeachtable @command1="print '?' DBCC DBREINDEX ('?')"

T-SQL Queries
1. 2 tables
Employee Phone empid empname empid phnumber salary mgrid

2. Select all employees who doesn't have phone? SELECT empname FROM Employee WHERE (empid NOT IN (SELECT DISTINCT empid FROM phone)) 3. Select the employee names who is having more than one phone numbers. SELECT empname FROM employee

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WHERE (empid IN (SELECT empid FROM phone GROUP BY empid HAVING COUNT(empid) > 1)) Select the details of 3 max salaried employees from employee table. SELECT TOP 3 empid, salary FROM employee ORDER BY salary DESC Display all managers from the table. (manager id is same as emp id) SELECT empname FROM employee WHERE (empid IN (SELECT DISTINCT mgrid FROM employee)) Write a Select statement to list the Employee Name, Manager Name under a particular manager? SELECT e1.empname AS EmpName, e2.empname AS ManagerName FROM Employee e1 INNER JOIN Employee e2 ON e1.mgrid = e2.empid ORDER BY e2.mgrid 2 tables emp and phone. emp fields are - empid, name Ph fields are - empid, ph (office, mobile, home). Select all employees who doesn't have any ph nos. SELECT * FROM employee LEFT OUTER JOIN phone ON employee.empid = phone.empid WHERE ( IS NULL OR = ' ') AND ( IS NULL OR = ' ') AND (phone.home IS NULL OR phone.home = ' ') Find employee who is living in more than one city. Two Tables:
Emp Empid empName Salary City Empid City

9. SELECT empname, fname, lname FROM employee WHERE (empid IN (SELECT empid FROM city GROUP BY empid HAVING COUNT(empid) > 1)) 10. Find all employees who is living in the same city. (table is same as above) SELECT fname FROM employee

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WHERE (empid IN (SELECT empid FROM city a WHERE city IN (SELECT city FROM city b GROUP BY city HAVING COUNT(city) > 1))) 11. There is a table named MovieTable with three columns moviename, person and role. Write a query which gets the movie details where Mr. Amitabh and Mr. Vinod acted and their role is actor. SELECT DISTINCT m1.moviename FROM MovieTable m1 INNER JOIN MovieTable m2 ON m1.moviename = m2.moviename WHERE (m1.person = 'amitabh' AND m2.person = 'vinod' OR m2.person = 'amitabh' AND m1.person = 'vinod') AND (m1.role = 'actor') AND (m2.role = 'actor') ORDER BY m1.moviename 12. There are two employee tables named emp1 and emp2. Both contains same structure (salary details). But Emp2 salary details are incorrect and emp1 salary details are correct. So, write a query which corrects salary details of the table emp2 update a set a.sal=b.sal from emp1 a, emp2 b where a.empid=b.empid 13. Given a Table named ³Students´ which contains studentid, subjectid and marks. Where there are 10 subjects and 50 students. Write a Query to find out the Maximum marks obtained in each subject. 14. In this same tables now write a SQL Query to get the studentid also to combine with previous results. 15. Three tables ± student , course, marks ± how do go at finding name of the students who got max marks in the diff courses. SELECT, AS coursename, marks.sid, marks.mark FROM marks INNER JOIN student ON marks.sid = student.sid INNER JOIN course ON marks.cid = course.cid WHERE (marks.mark = (SELECT MAX(Mark) FROM Marks MaxMark WHERE MaxMark.cID = Marks.cID)) 16. There is a table day_temp which has three columns dayid, day and temperature. How do I write a query to get the difference of temperature among each other for seven days of a week? SELECT a.dayid, a.dday, a.tempe, a.tempe - b.tempe AS Difference FROM day_temp a INNER JOIN day_temp b ON a.dayid = b.dayid + 1 OR Select, from temperature a, temperature b where

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17. There is a table which contains the names like this. a1, a2, a3, a3, a4, a1, a1, a2 and their salaries. Write a query to get grand total salary, and total salaries of individual employees in one query. SELECT empid, SUM(salary) AS salary FROM employee GROUP BY empid WITH ROLLUP ORDER BY empid 18. How to know how many tables contains empno as a column in a database? SELECT COUNT(*) AS Counter FROM syscolumns WHERE (name = 'empno') 19. Find duplicate rows in a table? OR I have a table with one column which has many records which are not distinct. I need to find the distinct values from that column and number of times it¶s repeated. SELECT sid, mark, COUNT(*) AS Counter FROM marks GROUP BY sid, mark HAVING (COUNT(*) > 1) 20. How to delete the rows which are duplicate (don¶t delete both duplicate records). SET ROWCOUNT 1 DELETE yourtable FROM yourtable a WHERE (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM yourtable b WHERE b.name1 = a.name1 AND b.age1 = a.age1) > 1 WHILE @@rowcount > 0 DELETE yourtable FROM yourtable a WHERE (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM yourtable b WHERE b.name1 = a.name1 AND b.age1 = a.age1) > 1 SET ROWCOUNT 0 21. How to find 6th highest salary SELECT TOP 1 salary FROM (SELECT DISTINCT TOP 6 salary FROM employee ORDER BY salary DESC) a ORDER BY salary 22. Find top salary among two tables SELECT TOP 1 sal FROM (SELECT MAX(sal) AS sal FROM sal1 UNION SELECT MAX(sal) AS sal FROM sal2) a ORDER BY sal DESC

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23. Write a query to convert all the letters in a word to upper case SELECT UPPER('test') 24. Write a query to round up the values of a number. For example even if the user enters 7.1 it should be rounded up to 8. SELECT CEILING (7.1) 25. Write a SQL Query to find first day of month? SELECT DATENAME(dw, DATEADD(dd, - DATEPART(dd, GETDATE()) + 1, GETDATE())) AS FirstDay
Datepart year quarter month dayofyear day week weekday hour minute second millisecond Abbreviations yy, yyyy qq, q mm, m dy, y dd, d wk, ww dw hh mi, n ss, s ms

26. Table A contains column1 which is primary key and has 2 values (1, 2) and Table B contains column1 which is primary key and has 2 values (2, 3). Write a query which returns the values that are not common for the tables and the query should return one column with 2 records. SELECT tbla.a FROM tbla, tblb WHERE tbla.a <> (SELECT tblb.a FROM tbla, tblb WHERE tbla.a = tblb.a) UNION SELECT tblb.a FROM tbla, tblb WHERE tblb.a <> (SELECT tbla.a FROM tbla, tblb WHERE tbla.a = tblb.a) OR (better approach) SELECT a FROM tbla WHERE a NOT IN (SELECT a

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FROM tblb) UNION ALL SELECT a FROM tblb WHERE a NOT IN (SELECT a FROM tbla) 27. There are 3 tables Titles, Authors and Title-Authors (check PUBS db). Write the query to get the author name and the number of books written by that author, the result should start from the author who has written the maximum number of books and end with the author who has written the minimum number of books. SELECT authors.au_lname, COUNT(*) AS BooksCount FROM authors INNER JOIN titleauthor ON authors.au_id = titleauthor.au_id INNER JOIN titles ON titles.title_id = titleauthor.title_id GROUP BY authors.au_lname ORDER BY BooksCount DESC 28. UPDATE emp_master SET emp_sal = CASE WHEN emp_sal > 0 AND emp_sal <= 20000 THEN (emp_sal * 1.01) WHEN emp_sal > 20000 THEN (emp_sal * 1.02) END 29. List all products with total quantity ordered, if quantity ordered is null show it as 0. SELECT name, CASE WHEN SUM(qty) IS NULL THEN 0 WHEN SUM(qty) > 0 THEN SUM(qty) END AS tot FROM [order] RIGHT OUTER JOIN product ON [order].prodid = product.prodid GROUP BY name Result: coke 60 mirinda 0 pepsi 10 30. ANY, SOME, or ALL? ALL means greater than every value--in other words, greater than the maximum value. For example, >ALL (1, 2, 3) means greater than 3. ANY means greater than at least one value, that is, greater than the minimum. So >ANY (1, 2, 3) means greater than 1. SOME is an SQL-92 standard equivalent for ANY. 31. IN & = (difference in correlated sub query) INDEX 32. What is Index? It¶s purpose? Indexes in databases are similar to indexes in books. In a database, an index allows the database program to find data in a table without scanning the entire table. An index in a database is a list of values in a

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table with the storage locations of rows in the table that contain each value. Indexes can be created on either a single column or a combination of columns in a table and are implemented in the form of Btrees. An index contains an entry with one or more columns (the search key) from each row in a table. A B-tree is sorted on the search key, and can be searched efficiently on any leading subset of the sear ch key. For example, an index on columns A, B, C can be searched efficiently on A, on A, B, and A, B, C. 33. Explain about Clustered and non clustered index? How to choose between a Clustered Index and a Non-Clustered Index? There are clustered and nonclustered indexes. A clustered index is a special type of index that reorders the way records in the table are physically stored. Therefore table can have only one clustered index. The leaf nodes of a clustered index contain the data pages. A nonclustered index is a special type of index in which the logical order of the index does not match the physical stored order of the rows on disk. The leaf nodes of a nonclustered index does not consist of the data pages. Instead, the leaf nodes contain index rows. Consider using a clustered index for: o Columns that contain a large number of distinct values. o Queries that return a range of values using operators such as BETWEEN, >, >=, <, and <=. o Columns that are accessed sequentially. o Queries that return large result sets. Non-clustered indexes have the same B -tree structure as clustered indexes, with two significant differences: o The data rows are not sorted and stored in order based on their non-clustered keys. o The leaf layer of a non-clustered index does not consist of the data pages. Instead, the leaf nodes contain index rows. Each index row contains the non-clustered key value and one or more row locators that point to the data row (or rows if the index is not unique) having the key value. o Per table only 249 non clustered indexes. 34. Disadvantage of index? Every index increases the time in takes to perform INSERTS, UPDATES and DELETES, so the number of indexes should not be very much. 35. Given a scenario that I have a 10 Clustered Index in a Table to all their 10 Columns. What are the advantages and disadvantages? A: Only 1 clustered index is possible. 36. How can I enforce to use particular index? You can use index hint (index=<index_name>) after the table name. SELECT au_lname FROM authors (index=aunmind) 37. What is Index Tuning? One of the hardest tasks facing database administrators is the selection of appropriate columns for non-clustered indexes. You should consider creating non-clustered indexes on any columns that are frequently referenced in the WHERE clauses of SQL statements. Other good

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candidates are columns referenced by JOIN and GROUP BY operations. You may wish to also consider creating non -clustered indexes that cover all of the columns used by certain frequently issued queries. These queries are referred to as ³covered queries´ and experience excellent performance gains. Index Tuning is the process of finding appropriate column for non clustered indexes. SQL Server provides a wonderful facility known as the Index Tuning Wizard which greatly enhances the index selection process. 38. Difference between Index defrag and Index rebuild? When you create an index in the database, the index information used by queries is stored in index pages. The sequential index pages are chained together by pointers from one page to the next. When changes are made to the data that affect the index, the information in the index can become scattered in the database. Rebuilding an index reorganizes the storage of the index data (and table data in the case of a clustered index) to remove fragmentation. This can improve disk performance by reducing the number of page reads required to obtain the requested data DBCC INDEXDEFRAG - Defragments clustered and secondary indexes of the specified table or view. ** 39. What is sorting and what is the difference between sorting & clustered indexes? The ORDER BY clause sorts query results by one or more columns up to 8,060 bytes. This will happen by the time when we retrieve data from database. Clustered indexes physically sorting data, while inserting/updating the table. 40. What are statistics, under what circumstances they go out of date, how do you update them? Statistics determine the selectivity of the indexes. If an indexed column has unique values then the selectivity of that index is m ore, as opposed to an index with non-unique values. Query optimizer uses these indexes in determining whether to choose an index or not while executing a query. Some situations under which you should update statistics: 1) If there is significant change in the key values in the index 2) If a large amount of data in an indexed column has been added, changed, or removed (that is, if the distribution of key values has changed), or the table has been truncated using the TRUNCATE TABLE statement and then repopulated 3) Database is upgraded from a previous version 41. What is fillfactor? What is the use of it ? What happens when we ignore it? When you should use low fill factor? When you create a clustered index, the data in the table is stored in the data pages of the database according to the order of the values in the indexed columns. When new rows of data are inserted into the table or the values in the indexed columns are changed, Microsoft® SQL ServerŒ 2000 may have to reorganize the storage of the data in the

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table to make room for the new row and maintain the ordered storage of the data. This also applies to nonclustered indexes. When data is added or changed, SQL Server may have to reorganize the storage of the data in the nonclustered index pages. When a new ro w is added to a full index page, SQL Server moves approximately half the rows to a new page to make room for the new row. This reorganization is known as a page split. Page splitting can impair performance and fragment the storage of the data in a table. When creating an index, you can specify a fill factor to leave extra gaps and reserve a percentage of free space on each leaf level page of the index to accommodate future expansion in the storage of the table's data and reduce the potential for page splits . The fill factor value is a percentage from 0 to 100 that specifies how much to fill the data pages after the index is created. A value of 100 means the pages will be full and will take the least amount of storage space. This setting should be used only when there will be no changes to the data, for example, on a read-only table. A lower value leaves more empty space on the data pages, which reduces the need to split data pages as indexes grow but requires more storage space. This setting is more appropria te when there will be changes to the data in the table. DATA TYPES 42. What are the data types in SQL
bigint datetime money smalldatetime tinyint Binary Decimal Nchar Smallint Varbinary bit float ntext smallmoney Varchar char image nvarchar text uniqueidentifier cursor int real timestamp

43. Difference between char and nvarchar / char and varchar data-type? char[(n)] - Fixed-length non-Unicode character data with length of n bytes. n must be a value from 1 through 8,000. Storage size is n bytes. The SQL-92 synonym for char is character. nvarchar(n) - Variable-length Unicode character data of n characters. n must be a value from 1 through 4,000. Storage size, in bytes, is two times the number of characters entered. The data entered can be 0 characters in length. The SQL-92 synonyms for nvarchar are national char varying and national character varying. varchar[(n)] - Variable-length non-Unicode character data with length of n bytes. n must be a value from 1 through 8,000. Storage size is the actual length in bytes of the data entered, not n bytes. The data entered can be 0 characters in length. The SQL-92 synonyms for varchar are char varying or character varying. 44. GUID datasize? 128bit

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45. How GUID becoming unique across machines? To ensure uniqueness across machines, the ID of the network card is used (among others) to compute the number. 46. What is the difference between text and image data type? Text and image. Use text for character data if you need to store more than 255 characters in SQL Server 6.5, or more than 8000 in SQL Server 7.0. Use image for binary large objects (BLOBs) such as digital images. With text and image data types, the data is not stored in the row, so the limit of the page size does not apply.All that is stored in the row is a pointer to the database pages that contain the data.Individual text, ntext, and image values can be a maximum of 2 -GB, which is too long to store in a single data row. JOINS 47. What are joins? Sometimes we have to select data from two or more tables to make our result complete. We have to perform a join. 48. How many types of Joins? Joins can be categorized as: y Inner joins (the typical join operation, which uses some comparison operator like = or <>). These include equi-joins and natural joins. Inner joins use a comparison operator to match rows from two tables based on the values in common columns from each table. For example, retrieving all rows where the student identification number is the same in both the students and courses tables. y Outer joins. Outer joins can be a left, a right, or full outer join. Outer joins are specified with one of the following sets of keywords when they are specified in the FROM clause: y LEFT JOIN or LEFT OUTER JOIN -The result set of a left outer join includes all the rows from the left table specified in the LEFT OUTER clause, not just the ones in which the joined columns match. When a row in the left table has no matching rows in the right table, the associated result set row contains null values for all select list columns coming from the right table. y RIGHT JOIN or RIGHT OUTER JOIN - A right outer join is the reverse of a left outer join. All rows from the right table are returned. Null values are returned for the left table any time a right table row has no matching row in the left table. y FULL JOIN or FULL OUTER JOIN - A full outer join returns all rows in both the left and right tables. Any time a row has no match in the other table, the select list columns from the other table contain null values. When there is a match between the tables, the entire result set row contains data values from the base tables. y Cross joins - Cross joins return all rows from the left table, each row from the left table is combined with all rows from the right table. Cross joins are also called Cartesian products. (A

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Cartesian join will get you a Cartesian product. A Cartesian join is when you join every row of one table to every row of another table. You can also get one by joining every ro w of a table to every row of itself.) What is self join? A table can be joined to itself in a self -join. What are the differences between UNION and JOINS? A join selects columns from 2 or more tables. A union selects rows. Can I improve performance by using the ANSI-style joins instead of the old-style joins? Code Example 1: select, from sysobjects o, sysindexes i where = Code Example 2: select, from sysobjects o inner join sysindexes i on = You will not get any performance gain by switching to the ANSI-style JOIN syntax. Using the ANSI-JOIN syntax gives you an important advantage: Because the join logic is cleanly separated from the filtering criteria, you can understand the query logic more quickly. The SQL Server old-style JOIN executes the filtering conditions before executing the joins, whereas the ANSI-style JOIN reverses this procedure (join logic precedes filtering). Perhaps the most compelling argument for switching to the ANSI-style JOIN is that Microsoft has explicitly stated that SQL Server will not support the old style OUTER JOIN syntax indefinitely. Another important consideration is that the ANSI-style JOIN supports query constructions that the old-style JOIN syntax does not support. What is derived table? Derived tables are SELECT statements in the FROM clause referred to by an alias or a userspecified name. The result set of the SELECT in the FROM clause forms a table used by the outer SELECT statement. For example, this SELECT uses a derived table to find if any store carries all book titles in the pubs database: SELECT ST.stor_id, ST.stor_name FROM stores AS ST, (SELECT stor_id, COUNT(DISTINCT title_id) AS title_count FROM sales GROUP BY stor_id ) AS SA WHERE ST.stor_id = SA.stor_id AND SA.title_count = (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM titles)

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